Chapter 8 - Memories Of The Painful Variety
Videl smiled at the Son boy. "I share that sentiment"
Returning the raven haired girl a smile of his own, Gohan tilted his head towards the closed door that would lead to the Son family house. The two entered the house to witness Chichi reading a book on the living room sofa, with Goten sleeping beside her and a content smile etched onto his face as Chichi massaged his head softly with her free hand. After hearing a disturbance behind her, the Son woman whipped her head around to spot both Gohan and Videl standing silently in the door frame. Judging by the way both teens were smiling, Chichi was able to deduce that the two had managed to make amends to whatever altercation they had earlier in the day. In her movement however she slightly disturbed the sleeping seven year old making his face switch to one of discomfort; luckily Chichi quickly stopped her actions making the boy settle into his slumber once more. Chichi then allowed a sigh of relief to pass through her lips, it was no easy task getting a demi saiyan to bed and Goten had a tendency to drive Chichi to the point of frustration after repeated attempts of settling the child.
Bringing her finger to her lips signalling the universal gesture to keep quiet; Chichi then motioned for both Gohan and Videl to place the collected firewood at the front of the fireplace, to which both nodded and carefully placed the wood on the ground so they wouldn't wake the sleeping form of Goten. Gohan then took the liberty of keeping the few embers remaining in the fireplace alive by supplying it with more firewood.
"Thank-you both of you" Chichi thanked her voice barely above half its usual volume. After checking the clock on the wall, which now read ten thirty, Chichi made the decision to turn in for the night, having to prepare food for two demi saiyans was certainly straining on the body. "Well I'm going to bed, will you two stay up?" Chichi asked. After taking a small glance at Videl, Gohan was able to determine that now was a good enough time for bed as any.
"I think we'll go to bed now" Gohan responded only to have a thought cross his mind. "Wait, where's Videl going to sleep?"
"In your room" Chichi answered as if the answer was plain as day. "Unless you want to sleep on the couch and incur the wrath of waking Goten"
That was more than enough of a reason to agree. While Chichi usually took charge of sending Goten to bed, Gohan had experienced firsthand the almost impossible task on a number of occasions, long story short, Gohan didn't quite have to patience for children; well, saiyan children that is.
"No thanks" Gohan answered. "I'd much rather get more than one hour of sleep tonight" After chuckling at her sons joke, Chichi bid the two teens a good night and returned to her only sanctuary away from stress and saiyans, her bedroom.
Gohan now retreated into the hall seeming to have an idea in mind, leaving Videl alone with the sleeping Goten. Videl allowed this time to study the young boy, she could only smile at the peacefulness of everything, his content smile, his wildly unruly hair, it was the pure embodiment of cute; and the word 'cute' was something Videl rarely every used to describe anything, but with Goten there wasn't a single word that fit the bill as perfectly as cute or even adorable.
Now entering back into the lounge room with a blanket in hand, Gohan carefully placed the woollen blanket over his younger brother and with great ease replaced his head support with a bed pillow, as well as picking up a stuffed purple dragon, which was reminiscent of Icarus off the floor and set it beside the boy. After being plagued by nightmares for a week when he was four, Gohan gave Goten ownership of the plush toy saying it would scare away all the bad dreams. To Goten's amazement it appeared to have worked, though Gohan speculated it was all because of Goten's inability to accept his father's absence and simply needed something to take his mind away from the pain, ever since the boy was almost incapable of going to bed without being in the company his dragon. Smiling at the memories, Gohan brought his face to Goten's forehead and kissed it gently.
"Sleep well squirt" he whispered softly into the boys here, the act of which made the boy emit a small laugh as the air entered his ear.
Videl watched the tender moment in silence, allowing a smile to reach the corners of her mouth. It was clear that Gohan cared very much for his younger brother regardless of whether he had to act as a father or sibling, however it did make the situation trivial in Videl's mind; obviously Goten was aware Gohan was not biologically his father, but how much did he know of his true father? Had he even met him before?
All of these questions and more she wanted to ask the boy, all she wanted to do was pick the teenagers brain, gain information and hopefully gain an understanding to the true person that Gohan was, as was Videl's intention with every new face that she encountered. In fact her fanatical and excessive questioning gained her incredible knowledge of almost all her peers, so much so that Videl was certain she could name the birthdays, fears, hobbies and full names of every one at Orange Star High. But to her misfortune the subject of Son Goku was extremely delicate, one that was evident with the conversation the two were engaged in while they sparred, and as far as the girl was concerned it wasn't beneficial or fair on Gohan to forcefully extract such precious and painful information from him.
Her thoughts on how to approach such an unusual situation like this one were then brought to a halt when she was addressed by the Son boy. "I think we should get to bed" he claimed with a small shrug. Videl was about to respond in agreement but couldn't contain a loud yawn which made Gohan chuckle. "I assume you agree" Gohan said trying to contain his laughter in the presence of Goten.
As the two headed towards Gohan and Goten's room Videl felt that after such an intense day she was in desperate need of some relief. "I think I'm going to have a shower first" she told Gohan, to which the boy nodded his understanding.
"The bathrooms at the end of the hall, there should be a dry towel on the rack; do you have a change of clothes?" Gohan explained and asked. The answer he got was a capsule being brought to his face.
"I'm way ahead of you" Videl said with a smug smile, making Gohan grin in response.
-10 minutes later-
The shower was slightly too cold for Videl's liking, especially during such an intensely freezing night, but it was refreshing, capable of clearing the girls slightly clouded mind after the past events during the last twenty four hour period. After changing into her pyjamas, which consisted of a pair of black pyjama pants and her usual baggy white shirt, Videl made her way to Gohan's room, carefully and quietly passing by Chichi's room on the way.
As the girl approached the door, she acted without thinking and opened to door without considering the possibility of knocking. As the door swung open she could only gasp at its contents. The room was small but very quaint as was the entire house for that matter. Off to the left side of the room was a wall full of colourful drawings and toys littered on the floor, no doubt the material possessions of the younger part of the Son brothers. On the right side it was nearly a polar opposite, everything was perfectly neat and nothing was out of place; set against the wall was a desk with a laptop set directly in the middle, the rest of the tables contents consisted of stacks of various text books and papers that contained information on nearly all the most advanced subjects, science, biology, psychology and advanced mathematics. And in the back corner was a tall wooden bookshelf that was stocked to the maximum load with literature.
However the one thing that made the girl do a complete double take was what was located or rather stood in the middle of the room. There clad in only a pair of blue tracksuit pants and no shirt was none other than Gohan, all top half of his skin completely exposed. While Videl had been witness to the boy in a training gi, it simply did not do the boy complete justice. Now standing without a top made it evident just how seriously Gohan took his training. The chiselled form of Gohan looked like it was sculpted from marble by the greatest sculptors the world had ever produced; his arms were defined and suited his tall and lean figure perfectly. The bare chest was home to a rock hard six pack and pectoral muscles, his shoulders appeared almost twice as broad as usual and his face even seemed more defined when the shirt was disposed of. But what stood out the most above these flawless features was the sheer amount of scars that littered the boy's battle worn body, there were countless large gashes that varied in length and depth all around his chest and shoulders, the one however which stood out the most was the infamous scar that ran from Gohan's left shoulder all the way past his bicep and faded as it began to reach his wrist. The aforementioned boy then gave the girl a look of surprise not expecting an unannounced entry from the Satan girl; however he was incapable of capturing the girl's attention who was now staring off into space.
Just how flawless could a body get? Was it possible that gods truly did live among humanity taking the forms of mere men? Because that was the only way to justify such perfection, there was no genetic or biological makeup that could allow a human to achieve results of this extent. Videl had been witness to hundreds of students at the Satan dojo, but none managed to hold a candle to Gohan, not even Hercule himself.
'Was Gohan always like this? Surely not… I mean I don't remember him being so se… Whoa! Back it up girl, this is Gohan were talking about, do not succumb to temptation' Videl mentally willed herself, just in time to be brought back to reality by Gohan clicking his fingers in front of the girls face making her step back in surprise.
"You alright there?" Gohan asked once he finally managed to get the girls undivided attention.
"No, I'm fine" Videl responded a little too quickly with a tone which was full of apprehension, making the girl once again mentally punish herself.
"If you say so" Gohan responded as the dug through his drawer and pulling out a grey tank top which he put over his bare chest making Videl relax while also curing her staring problem. It was then that she noticed her sleeping arrangements which weren't exactly ideal after the immediate events that had just passed. In the centre of the room were two single beds, both of which were pressed as close to one another as possible practically turning it into a double bed… Which she would have to share with Gohan.
In order to replace those unnerving thoughts Videl began survey her surroundings a bit more closely and spotted a picture frame set on top of Gohan's work desk, it was a simple silver bordered picture frame with what looked to be a large group photo inside. Upon closer inspection, Videl was able to identify some of the faces within the picture. The location looked to be out the front of the Son residence, with Bulma Briefs smiling widely standing beside that angry Vegeta guy who stood arms crossed and a frown that showed no emotion, behind them with a smirk on his face was a tall teenager with long purple hair and blue spandex that matched Vegeta's. On the other side of the picture was the easily identifiable Chichi, who had a grin on her face and a hand placed on the arm of a similar aged man; Videl then put two and two together and noted the wild black hair and orange gi.
'Son Goku' she mentally claimed. Her attention then turned to the last figure in the photo, a smaller boy of about ten or eleven, he was clad in a purple gi and his hair was just as messy as Goku's and he was holding the peace sign in front of his face with a large toothy smile plastered on his face. It didn't take Videl long to identify the young boy as her fellow classmate. She then looked back and forth between Gohan and the picture, noting the similarities that the present Gohan bore with his younger counterpart.
"Is this you?" she asked gesturing to the small boy in the photo. Gohan quickly examined the photo and gave a sad smile.
"Yeah that's me" Gohan responded.
"And him" Videl said now pointing at Goku "He's your dad?" Gohan responded with a silent nod. "The picture was taken about a week before he died" he informed. A small silence then fell over the two teens; Videl silently placed the frame back to its original position and got herself situated on her temporary bed and pulled the covers over her and laid back with her eyes situated solely on the roof.
Deciding that now was the appropriate time to get some much needed sleep, Gohan turned off the lights and proceeded to his side of the bed and got himself comfortable under the covers just as Videl had done earlier. He then relaxed in a state of concentration, wondering whether or not Videl's curiosity would have a positive or negative effect on his and her life, as if by magic, said curiosity decided to peak once more.
"Did Goten ever..." Videl trailed off trying to find the right words in an effort to not seem overly pushy or forceful. "Know his father?" she could almost feel the stiffening and tenseness of Gohan after the question escaped her mouth.
Gohan took a moment to contemplate the question to its full extent, he could tell just by the tone of Videl's voice that it wasn't her usual demanding of answers to gain information, but rather one of intrigue and perhaps even to some extent, sympathy. He allowed his breath to come out in shorter and more rapid bursts at the magnitude of such a question, but at this point he came to realize the truth was what she deserved.
"No, he left us just before Goten was born" Gohan replied stiffly carefully choosing his wording, while it was true his father had died for his mistake, it was only because of his decision that he remained that way. And while most everyone saw his actions as heroic and noble, Gohan saw through the smoke and mirrors and refused to believe that his assumptions were accurate or deem his actions as remarkable. While his mother took Goku's absence very hard, Gohan was left to wonder for seven years if his father intentionally wished to remain dead for another reason, this managed to slowly escalate to some harboured resentment for being left with a mother and brother in such a broken state.
"Do you still miss him?" Videl questioned. After hearing Chichi speak about her lost husband, Videl couldn't help but notice how highly she spoke of Goku and how the pain of loss was still present just below the surface. And while it was obvious Gohan felt some sort of twisted guilt from this horrific situation, Videl couldn't help but notice Gohan's hesitation when she addressed the question to him.
The pause was longer than either expected, Gohan mentally weighed his answer, carefully measuring every available option that he could process through his mind; he desperately wanted to confirm his sadness at his father's absence, but with all his might he couldn't bring himself to come clean. While his ten or eleven year old self would have instantly answered with a 'yes' the Gohan of the present was reluctant to do so. While he did miss his father to some extent, he had to admit to himself that he had spent most his entire life feeling that way, ever since he was four years old, that is, the absence of his father had been something of a regular occurrence. It was true over the last seven years his mother and closest friends believed that Gohan was incapable of coming to terms with Goku's death; the reality however, was far more complicated.
"I… Don't know" Gohan answered now unsure of how to answer such a question.
The answer made Videl cringe, it was certainly not the expected response, but it held far more meaning than a simple 'yes or no' answer. Videl wasn't stupid, while most people would write his answer off as one of denial or inability to accept the truth, Videl was more than capable of reading people and could hear the sincerity in his voice, one that indicated a clash of different emotions and hesitance. Deciding the best course of action was to end the conversation where it was Videl directed her sentence back to the Son boy.
"Well I'm tired, goodnight Gohan" Videl said, leaving her some time to ponder the small amount of information she was able to obtain. Meanwhile Gohan quietly laid next to her concentrating on the conversation that just transpired before responding to the girl's abrupt end to their talk.
"Goodnight Videl" the boy said in barely a whisper, one that went almost unregistered by the raven haired teenager. The night however contrary to what words had been exchanged; the night would not be so good for one of the duo.
Gohan tossed and turned for what felt like the millionth time in the past hour, eyes clenched shut with full force, Gohan mentally willed himself to succumb to sleep, but his body was not willing to even attempt such a request in fact it downright refused. After half an hour of inability to sleep Gohan became frustrated, and the more he readjusted the more his anger became more and more infuriating. He shifted constantly, counted sheep, got a glass of water and then milk, nothing worked.
He then looked towards the bed beside him to witness his classmate sleeping soundly as if it was the easiest thing in the world, her breathe came in short bursts and her delicate hand was stretched out over onto Gohan's bed. He couldn't help but crack a small smile at the peacefulness of her slumber, in the short time Gohan had known the girl, he knew it was an extremely rare occurrence for Videl to ever be peaceful, despite this coming as a result of her being asleep, it was still something Gohan was sure many few were actually present for.
However these thoughts did not aid the boy in his mission to manage a single second of sleep, he then lay back for the umpteenth time and stared blankly at the roof, as if expecting to see some sort of answers for his struggles. But as expected the roof held no answers. Sighing again Gohan sat up once more only to be subjected to a great stabbing pain in his mind. He clutched his head with both hands and tried to release a loud scream in agony, only for his mouth to remain silent.
As the pain began to intensify, the teen could feel his forehead become drenched in sweat, then his eyes became blank, staring into a the void as if leaving the world for a split second. Images began to flash in front of the boy's eyes, some of the most important events that had lead Gohan to this stage in his life.
He watched his father, restraining his relentless Saiyan brother Raditz, just as a purple Ki blast pierced through his chest, killing them both on impact. He allowed a scream to enter his mind, as he was overcome with a mix of anger and sadness, the identical emotions he felt when it was revealed to him that his father had been killed during the incident.
He waited, waited, and waited for his father to make and entrance and stand against both Vegeta and Nappa, expecting a heroic show of bravery and victory, only to feel the pain of being the punching bag for the brute Nappa.
He witnessed the legendary transformation to Super Saiyan in the company of the tyrant Frieza, the shock overwhelming the boy, making him indecisive, even when his father issued him a simple order. "Take Piccolo and get out of here!" the words which made Gohan flinch in surprise at the commanding tone that they held.
He wished that his father would be alright, remaining unsure as to whether his father would somehow make a miraculous escape from Namek or would perish with the dying planet, the suspense left him hoping that everything would somehow turn out the way it was supposed to, with his father joining him once again on earth.
He wanted to take back his actions at the Cell games, the transformation that turned him to a hybrid of pure rage and little sense of morality, with only the intention of hurting the one who had caused him pain, causing the death of his father for the second time.
He wallowed in self-pity and guilt, after being told by his own father that he would not be returning he was now conflicted between kick starting a breakdown of epic proportions and disapproving of his father's chosen path.
Sadness turned to anger.
Pain turned to blame.
Calmness turned to outrage.
Turning to hate.
Suddenly the pain in Gohan's head subsided; the flashbacks came to an end and his sweating ceased completely. He sat right up, looking around the room frantically noticing no difference in his environment; he turned back to Videl and sighed in relief to see that she had not been disturbed. Laying back into his bed, Gohan was left to question what had just transpired. He had never known such a horrific psychological pain could affect anyone. The sensation he knew was not because of sleep deprivation, it was not a nightmare. It was terrifying; reliving the most gruesome of events of the young demi saiyans life was certainly no fun experience.
Staring back to the roof, Gohan refused to close his eyes. He didn't want to sleep anymore, he didn't want to dream, and he didn't want these memories anymore.
7:32 am – A single beam of light managed to find the smallest crack in the curtains against the window. With perfect precision, the ray of light landed directly on a certain raven haired teens closed eyes, the act of doing so however, quickly changed the state of her sleep. With her eyes all of a sudden burning through her eyelids, Videl was awoken from her peaceful slumber. Sitting up slowly, the girl quickly scanned her surroundings and was surprised to bear witness to an environment that was most certainly not her room. It took the girl a few more seconds to register where she was, and soon the memories of how she was in this situation began to follow.
Finally remembering everything that had happened in the past twenty four hours, Videl turned her gaze to the bed on her left, expecting to see a certain tall teen sleeping. To her surprise however, the bed was not only empty, but was made perfectly, leaving no trace or evidence of it ever being used. Rising from her zombie like mode, the girl stood straight and began her small routine of early morning stretches, the act of doing so made a few crack of bones resound through the small room. The girl grunted as each arm and leg began to show signs of gentle pains with each manoeuvre, it would seem her body was trying to tell her that the earlier sparring session may have been one too many.
After a few more minutes of this, Videl made her exit and started towards the kitchen area, where she was happily greeted by the one and only Chichi, whom was slaving over yet another large quantity of food, with an impatient Goten eyeing every meal hungrily. Were it not for the threat of being scolded by Chichi, the young demi saiyan would have already inhaled the food without a second thought.
"Good morning Videl" Chichi called to the girl as she brought a mountain of bacon to the dining table. "Good morning" Videl replied happily.
"Sleep well?" Videl just nodded at the woman's question, surprising herself. She could not even recall waking for a single second throughout the night.
"That's good. Would you mind waking up Gohan, Goten's getting a bit restless and I can't guarantee there'll be anything left when he gets here" Chichi claimed. However all she received from the girl was a confused look.
"I thought Gohan was already awake. His bed was made by the time I woke up" Videl stated.
Now it was Chichi's turn to seem confused. Looking at the girl in bewilderment, it certainly wasn't like Gohan to wake up early, let alone skip one of his three most favourite parts of the day (Breakfast, lunch and dinner obviously).
"Where could he have gone?" Chichi asked herself, trying to figure out where he would want to go at such early hours of the morning and for what purpose. Capsule Corp? Highly unlikely, Vegeta only wished to spar in the afternoon and Gohan had no business with Trunks or Bulma as far as she knew. The lookout, more probable, but surely not, Gohan didn't have any reason to speak with Piccolo, he only visited his former mentor around once a month and he only saw him a week ago. Sighing, Chichi was unable to find a solution. "Do you know where he might have gone Goten?" Chichi addressed her son.
Bringing his hand to his chin deep in thought, though in truth he was scanning the surrounding area for his brother's Ki, but for some odd reason it appeared he was masking his Ki. Goten began running through the possibilities just like his mother, though he kept getting distracted by the intoxicating aromas of food that hindered his thinking capacity somewhat. After some 'careful' deliberation, the boy merely shrugged. "Nope" he responded.
This time however the Satan girl offered her knowledge. "He did say something about getting more firewood last night. Maybe he's out there right now" Videl suggested.
Chichi carefully regarded the girl for a few seconds; it wasn't like Gohan to take such a task in the early hours of the morning, certainly not before breakfast. But she had to concede the young girls point, after all it was the most likely. But she couldn't help her motherly instincts from turning to overdrive and fretting over every horrible situation that may have overwhelmed her son.
Seeing the wave of emotions pour onto the older woman's face, Videl couldn't help but feel sympathetic, it was the same face her father gave her whenever she would attempt something even remotely dangerous; while she typically scolded him for being over protective at times, she knew he was merely worried for her wellbeing and wanted to see her safe.
"I could go get him for you" Videl offered.
"I couldn't ask you to do that Videl" Chichi countered. "I appreciate it, but it's dangerous out there alone. I'm sure wherever Gohan is he's safe, I don't wish to trouble you"
Videl however shook her head, not willing to be deterred. "It's not problem at all, I'll be fine" she stated with confidence.
After weighing the options through her head, Chichi decided that Videl's actions would in fact offer her the peace of mind she required in this situation. Nodding in agreement, Chichi spoke once more. "Thank-you Videl, please be careful… And don't forget your coat"
Videl cracked a smile at the Son mother; it had been too long since she had to deal with motherly problems. While it did leave her with more freedom, Videl would be lying to herself if she said she didn't miss it. Taking her coat, the girl set out to the cold crisp morning to locate her semi missing friend. She carefully followed the walk that she and Gohan had taken the previous night, hoping to reach the same forest area where they found the firewood.
Dew still remained on the damp grass as before, but now in larger quantities. The air was thick and almost completely frozen as it entered the girls mouth with each inhale, the wind, though subtle was most certainly present and did very well in making the already cold climate, much colder. Bringing her tingling hands to her mouth, Videl attempted to breathe warm air onto her exposed palms to warm herself up, but to no avail, the warm sensation was abolished as soon as it appeared.
As the girl was passing yet another clearing, she noticed two foreign objects a bit further away lying on the wet grass. Upon closer inspection, Videl noted that it was a large stack of firewood cut perfectly rectangular and propped against the pile was the durable woodcutters axe. Surveying her surroundings, Videl searched for the dark haired teen, expecting him to be close by. Her gaze then landed on a very familiar looking hill, it took her a moment to register the fact that it was the famous 'overlook' from last night. After processing the evidence placed conveniently in front of her, Videl deduced that the source of her search was located at the top of the hill.
Upon reaching the top, Videl found her guess to be correct. Sitting cross legged on the top of the hill, underneath the lone oak tree was the still figure of Gohan. Clad in a black gi with red sash and undershirt, Gohan sat completely not moving in any capacity. From the angle she was standing at, Videl could see that the boy's eyes were sealed shut, the calm, frosty wind made his black hair dance with the pattern, the single bang that hung over his head now fluttered to the side. All of this however had no effect on the Son boy. His eye's remained sealed, his facial features showed evidence of being deep in concentration.
After examining the boy closely, Videl was bewildered at what the boy was hoping to accomplish by sitting in such a position. "Gohan?" Videl called softly, her voice just piercing through the thick wind. However the message seemed to not reach Gohan who remained perfectly still. Walking a few feet closer, Videl addressed the boy again.
"Gohan?" No response. A little closer and a little louder.
"Gohan?" still no response.
Walking another metre closer, Videl reached out to place a hand on the boy's stocky shoulder. However just as her hand was about to make contact, her wrist was captured by an iron grip before she could even register a single movement. As the girl's eyes widened with shock, her attention turned to her wrist which was now captured by the hand of the non-moving Gohan. Her gaze then turned to the boy's face, which was now turned to focus back onto Videl's face. The two stayed in that position for a few moments, before Gohan registered what was going on, turning his stare back to his hand, his eye's turned to one of surprise to see his hand encompassing the girl's small wrist.
Instantly relinquishing his grip, Gohan sighed. "Sorry… Reflex" Gohan explained as turned his head back to his lap and ran a hand through his jet black hair, giving another sigh. It didn't take a genius to see that Gohan was out of it, judging by the tired look and depressive attitude he employed.
"Gohan? Are you okay?" Videl asked. It was certainly odd to see this dejected look on the face of Gohan of all people. Turning his face back to the girl, Videl mentally gasped at the sight. The boy looked completely out of it, his shoulders were slouched and his eyes were giving a blank stare that held no meaning.
"I didn't get much sleep last night" the boy explained, trying to put an end to this conversation. He knew that he was in for a session of worrying mother when he got home, and he didn't want a pre session with Videl.
"Gohan, not sleeping means you fall asleep at the dinner table, I'm not sure it means you leave home at sunrise. What's wrong, really?" There was no mistaking the worry in the girl's voice. It not only surprised Gohan, but also Videl herself. Why was this such an important matter to the girl anyway? Regardless, the question still stood. Scratching the back of his head as was his second nature, Gohan sighed aloud. The girl was certainly more observant than he would have wanted.
"I had a few… Nightmares" Gohan stated, trying to explain the situation as best he could. While he could just have easily said it was flash backs or memories, Gohan didn't want people thinking he was mentally unstable.
"About what?" Videl asked now sitting beside the boy.
"A lot of things" Gohan murmured cryptically.
"But what specifically?" Videl urged.
"Does it matter?"
"It's better to talk about it rather than keep it bottled up" Videl encouraged.
"It's just…" Gohan trailed off, trying to finish his sentence. "It's complicated" he sighed once again, now it was becoming a common trait of Gohan's this morning. "They weren't just nightmares, they were… My memories"
"Memories?" Videl wondered. It wasn't uncommon for people to be subjected to nightmares or night terrors on a regular basis. But reliving past events of a person's life wasn't exactly something everyone witnessed. "A lot of things have happened in my life" Gohan claimed. "Each event seems to get progressively worse than the previous one"
Videl meanwhile listened intently, wishing to soak up as much information regarding her friend as she could. It was clear that beneath the surface of Gohan's happy exterior, lay a lot of unspoken emotions. She kept her mouth shut, even as Gohan stopped speaking, leaving the two in an all too familiar silence. Before Gohan's stomach was once again on hand to suggest the next move, the loud rumble echoed around the surrounding mountains making Videl giggle and Gohan allow a small chuckle to pass his lips.
"Looks like it's time for breakfast" Gohan suggested with a half-smile that Gohan conjured with as much happy thoughts as he could muster. Videl however was still sceptical and was capable of seeing through his failed attempts, but let it slide. Everyone had their down moments after all.
After collecting the firewood and axe, the two set course for the Son household. Both walked in relative silence, taking in the serene back drop and surroundings that they were present to witness. After finally arriving at the household, Gohan braced for the worst as he slowly turned to door handle with a wince plastered on his face. Upon entering the poor boy was bombarded by the combination of Chichi's disapproval, scolding, worrying and relief. In this situation Gohan merely nodded every couple of seconds as his mother droned on about "Scaring the life out of her" and "Having no consideration for his family by leaving without warning" and something along the lines of "Acting like a hoodlum" while Gohan tolerated this with the best of his abilities. The next line caused something inside him to have difficulty.
"You're just like your father I swear, always running off an-" The son mother was then cut off by her son sending a chilling look towards her and speaking cold and barely in a whisper.
"I am nothing like dad, don't compare me to him" the sentence came without any control on the demi saiyans part. Gohan was unable to even stop himself from saying it. The result of his words however seemed to make the whole household grow quiet, not only was his tone cold, but the wording threw everyone off guard. Chichi stopped her seemingly endless tirade, Goten brought his face from his mountain of food and Videl sat wide eyed.
"Gohan?" Chichi asked now disposing of her angry side and leaving only her over protective worried mother mentality.
"I'm sorry mum, I just…" casting his eyes down and clenching his fist absentmindedly, Gohan tried to appease his mother, not meaning to act so cold to her "I have a lot on my mind" he finished. The tension was almost palpable in the room; Gohan silently walked over to the dinner table and took a seat beside Videl and Goten. After eyeing the food closely, Gohan's saiyan pit rumbled in response, making Goten burst into hysterics, putting a hold on the tense atmosphere.
Offering Goten a weak smile, Gohan began to pile his desired food onto his plate and gorged himself on the fine cuisine, making the effort to avoid eye contact with his mother. Chichi however chuckled lightly at her son's Saiyan genetics and decided to talk about the issue with Gohan privately at a later date.
9:14 a.m. – With a wonderful breakfast being put to an end, Videl checked her wrist watch. The time it read was around the designated time allocation Videl had set herself to leave. After quickly changing into her usual baggy fighter clothes, Videl head back into the lounge room where all three of the Son family waited.
"I've really got to go" Videl announced. "I just wanted to say thanks for the food and hospitality Chichi" she then allowed herself to give a small bow of the head in courtesy. Chichi however simply waved away the gesture.
"Anytime my dear, don't be a stranger were always willing to have Gohan's friends over" Chichi responded happily. "Gohan, see Videl out the door would you?"
Nodding his head, Gohan stood from his sitting position on the sofa and escorted Videl to the large patch of green grass that surrounded the quaint household. After collecting her capsules, Videl conjured up her trusty, new yellow jet-copter and turned towards Gohan. "Are you going to tell your mother about…?" Videl trailed off, leaving Gohan to connect to dots.
"Not right now. Eventually but not yet" Gohan responded coupled with a shrug.
Videl however did not seem impressed. "I still think you need to tell someone" she ordered. Gohan smirked at the girl's pushy attitude; it was now becoming more of a defining feature for the pigtailed girl rather than a simple annoyance.
"Don't worry, I know just the person to talk to" Gohan assured.
11:59 a.m. – "Vegeta can we talk?" Gohan asked reluctantly.
After the departure of Videl, Gohan made the conscience decision to seek some sort of explanations. While Piccolo was his first option, Gohan wasn't so sure he was the best. Did Namekians even dream? Regardless, after much deliberation he deduced that his 'flashbacks' were most likely a Saiyan problem rather than an easily defined psychological issue. So with no options remaining, Gohan turned to the one man that he would rather avoid.
"Talk!" Vegeta barked. "I have no intention of humouring you and your damn social problems. Don't waste my time. A true Saiyan warrior has no time for petty useless talk, unless you are game for a spar, then leave" Gohan however was unfazed by such a hollow and idle threat, after being exposed to it since Vegeta first arrived on planet earth.
"Believe me Vegeta, you're the last person I would talk to. But… This is serious" Gohan pleaded whole heartedly. The tone of worry in the boy's voice was enough he capture the attention of Vegeta. Though he wouldn't admit it, he had learnt a lot about the boy and his mannerisms over the past seven years and he knew just as well as Piccolo that Gohan never acted without reason.
"You have one minute to explain what's so damn 'serious'" Vegeta responded gruffly. Wasting no time, Gohan began retelling the events of the previous night.
"Last night I started having flashbacks of previous events while I was in bed" Gohan explained.
"So you had a dream, big whoop" Vegeta mocked.
"No! I wasn't even asleep, I couldn't sleep all night. Then my head began to hurt like nothing I've ever experienced, what followed was a series of flashbacks starting since I was four"
Vegeta suddenly stopped his tough guy demeanour for a split second, so quickly that Gohan didn't register it. "What happened in these flashbacks?"
"Well most a lot had to do with dad's death, like against Raditz and Cell"
"Did all of them involve Kakarot?"
After retelling the events in his minds, Gohan realized that all these flashbacks did indeed involve his father, mostly his father being responsible for the way he felt at the time the memories took place. "Yes" Gohan responded.
Vegeta eyed the boy for a short while, if his assumptions were correct, then it seemed this pivotal moment in the demi Saiyan's had arrived earlier than expected. "If this ever happens again, I want you to tell me" Vegeta ordered.
"What's going on Vegeta?" Gohan questioned, now realizing that the Saiyan prince had knowledge regarding to Gohan's condition.
"Nothing yet, but if it does happen again you will tell me, understand?"
Gohan gave the man a confused look but knew better than to argue with the Saiyan prince. It was after all a losing battle. The man may not surpass Gohan's physical abilities, but the man was capable of winning any argument with his stubborn and prideful attitude, perhaps that's why he and Bulma worked so well together. Shrugging at the thought, Gohan took his leave and blasted back home, hoping to make amends with his mother after his slight outburst while she fretted over him.
"Why was Gohan here?" Bulma asked her husband as she entered just in time to witness the teenager leaving the premises. But all she received as an answer was her husband opening the front door to Capsule Corporation and blasting into the air in a similar fashion toe what Gohan had just done.
"Vegeta?" Bulma called.
The Lookout – After touching down on the sky fortress, the Saiyan prince was met with the equally serious Piccolo who gave Vegeta a nod in acknowledgment. "I take it your here because of Gohan" Piccolo guessed.
"I know you've been keeping an eye on him, is what he said all true?" Vegeta questioned.
"His power fluctuated quite a lot last night, this morning was the same. Is it really happening? I thought you said it would take him another five or six years"
"The boy is half human, while his Saiyan genes are dominant; his human bloodline is making the process happen at a much faster rate, I was hoping it would be otherwise" Vegeta claimed with a frown.
"So what happens next?" Piccolo asked now worrying for his former protégé's wellbeing.
"The boy's coming of age; he's being plagued by the memories of Kakarot. He's lived the past seven years in denial, now he's remembering the most significant events that involve Kakarot and witnessing them from a new perspective"
"Will he do anything rash?"
"Doubtful, the boy still has some common sense; you know he wouldn't, his willingness to act is only done within reason. He's no danger to anyone but himself"
"Should we tell his mother?"
"Absolutely not!" Vegeta practically screamed in disapproval. "If anything, the harpy will make the situation far worse, imagine her finding out her son's true feelings for Kakarot, she would drive the brat insane, then he would do something rash"
Nodding his head in understanding, Piccolo began to wonder what sort of turmoil the boy had to endure ever since the Cell games. "Before I forget" Piccolo claimed "Gohan's power was relaxed when he was in the company of some girl from his school"
"Girl?" Vegeta questioned, to which Piccolo nodded.
"He was relaxed when she arrived and remained that way up until he confronted his mother. Then… Not so much"
Nodding his head several times, Vegeta turned to leave the lookout, before giving one last piece of advice. "Keep an eye on the boy. His body might be physically capable of withstanding the stress, but his mind may not be prepared for it. Also… Keep an eye on this 'girl', she may be the one, whether either of them know it or not"
A much more pivotal chapter. This is practically the chapter to set up the ensuing important events in the story.
Hope you enjoyed it.
- AUS Wild thing